Nigerians are still reeling from the impact of some of the policies announced by President Bola Tinubu in 2023. Nigerians are still reeling from the impact of some of the policies announced by President Bola Tinubu in 2023.
The removal of fuel subsidy pushed transport costs to over 300 percent, as prices of petrol averaged N660 per litre, as against N195 before May 29, 2023, when that policy was announced by the president during his inaugural speech.
This is as growing insecurity, especially in the northeast, northwest and north-central regions, also worsened food security, leading to an increase in the number of malnourished Nigerians in several parts of the country.
The inflation rate rose to 28.20 percent in November from 27.33 percent in October of 2023, and it is expected to be 30.00 percent by the end of this quarter.
Against the backdrop of these challenges, the president has, however, initiated some policy responses to help reverse some of these ugly economic trends.
Here are some of the policies by Tinubu’s administration that will shape expectations in 2024.
Rollout of CNG buses
Against the backdrop of growing transportation challenges, Nigerians are still waiting for the promised rollout of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-powered buses, as prices of petrol continue to rise.
The Federal Government recently said that the absence of relevant personnel and fueling points around the country has led to delays in deploying the CNG buses.
While in the United Arab Emirates, President Bola Tinubu had assured Nigerians that he would unveil the buses, which have been produced by Innoson Motors and parked at Eagles Square, Abuja.
BusinessDay had reported that workers were facing untold hardships over the government’s unfulfilled promises since July 2023 to cushion the high cost of public transportation.
The cost of public transportation, especially intra-city transport, has gone up by over 300 percent since the fuel subsidy removal.
But speaking on the deployment of the CNG buses provided by the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Delẹ Alake, the solid minerals development minister, said the buses could not be deployed to their various routes due to the “absence of sufficient fueling points, skilled drivers, and competent technical operators.”
About 100 buses branded as “Hybrid Powered CNG Buses,” have been parked at Eagle Square, Abuja, awaiting deployment.
Although many believe it was a good starting point, despite the slow rate of deployment, the delay has further created more difficulties for mass movement.
Nigerians are eager to see how the president would tackle the growing corruption menace, especially in his cabinet, where a reported diversion of over N44 billion from the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) has exposed the rots in public finance.
Abiodun Adeniyi, a mass communications expert, at the Baze University, Abuja, said the president has an uphill task tackling corruption because of its endemic nature.
“This revelation is coming at the right time and Nigerians are waiting for the president not only to talk tough but show that he is ready to change things for the better.
According to him, “the APC government which rode on the anti-corruption mantra to assume power has so far appeared as the most corrupt regime, even under former President Muhammadu Buhari. So, in 2024 one of the things that will define this government is the way the Tinubu administration tackles corruption, starting with the ongoing probe into the NSIP case,” he said.
An Abuja-based legal practitioner and APC chieftain, Suleiman Lamorde, lamented that about 70 percent of the nation’s capital budget is lost to corruption annually and urged President Tinubu to redeem the party’s image.
“The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN) had in their assessment of Nigeria’s corruption, declared about 70 percent of Nigeria’s capital budget is lost to corruption, annually. The president must work to tackle corruption and redeem the image of our party ”
Ministerial performance bond
Closely related to the fight against corruption is the president’s performance bond with the ministers and heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government
Part of the resolutions from the November 2023 ministerial retreat was the signing of the “Ministers Performance Bond” that sets the key performance indicators (KPIs) for heads of MDAs.
The president has at different fora warned that ministers who cannot cope with the targeted delivery of their mandates have the right to resign or get sacked.
While it is expected that the ministers on their own will work to hit the ground running and tackle the challenges of service delivery, it is also expected that the president will drive the mandate using the necessary machinery in the office of the Special Adviser on Policy and Coordination, headed by Hadiza Bala- Usman.
The special adviser will drive the delivery ecosystem that states the expectations from the MDAs, delivery tools and timelines.
The policy is designed to enhance accountability, improve efficiency, promote data-driven decision-making and align MDA policies and projects with presidential priorities.
Minimum wage implementation
Barring any last-minute changes, the new National Minimum Wage is expected to take off in April.
Checks by BusinessDay, however, indicate that the Federal Government is yet to put in place modalities for the implementation of the policy which has created doubts as to the possibility of an April take-off date.
Besides, the president is yet to fill the vacancy created by the exit of Simon Lalong, the immediate past minister of Labour and Employment who resigned to take his seat at the Senate.
Leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), are unhappy over the government’s reneging on the implementation of October 2, 2023 agreements between the unions and the Federal Government.
The two labour bodies in their New Year messages, berated the government which they said “has serially violated their agreements.”
For instance, it was agreed in October that a minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of this agreement.
The committee is, however, yet to be inaugurated despite promises by the government.
The current minimum wage of N30,000 came into effect in April 2019 and it is due for a review in April 2024, as the Act stipulates a five-yearly review.